Monday, June 25, 2007

Home Alone

My husband has taken his baseball team to Florida for a week! Our granddaughter's birthday is next week, so when he was making the reservations back in March, I opted not to go with him as I wanted to be available for any family celebration.

However, it has now ended up that no one is traveling to Kentucky for a party; instead we will celebrate when my son's family visits later in July, so. . .

I'm home alone.

I love my husband, and I love my son's family, but I do love being home alone. The house is quiet, and I can have a bowl of cereal for supper if I want. (Not that my husband complains about any meal I fix or if we eat out five nights in a row -- I truly have a gem of a husband.)

I hope the team, the coaches, and the parents that joined them have a wonderful time -- I hope they win all their games and have fun at MGM Park and at get nice tans at Daytona Beach. I pray they will return home safely next Monday.

Until then, I'm going to grab a book and settle in for a nice evening of reading.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Good Books

It has been several months since I have read a really good book! The kind of book that makes me want to read quickly because I can't stand the suspense, yet the kind that makes me slow down because I'm not going to want the book to end.

When I retired, I compiled all the book lists I had stuffed in a folder into one long list. My goal was to read all of the books, or at least give each one a try. I soon discovered that is a futile endeavor because I keep adding new titles to my list. I now have three typed pages of three columns each typed in a 6 point font.

This problem is only becoming "worse"now that the Literary Reflections Department at Literary Mama has expanded with two new features: "Essential Reading" and "Now Reading." What a delightful dilemma!

This month's Essential Reading focuses on fathers. "Now Reading" will be posted soon.

Hope you will take a look!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Happy Birthday, Son

Thirty one years ago today I was in labor at Research Hospital delivering my oldest son.

Just the day before I had had my last office visit with my OB/GYN Joe Williams. His parting words to me had been : "If I don't see you before, be at the hospital at 7 a.m., and we will induce labor."

Following the appointment, I was at lunch with my mom and aunt when it hit me that this time tomorrow I would be in pain. A wave of nausea washed over me, and when I expressed my thoughts, my mom asked, "Why? You've known all along you are going to have this baby at some point."

"I know, but now I know the appointed time of the labor, the appointed time of the pain, and the anticipation is a bit scary." (That all seems so silly now!)

The rest of the day was uneventful, and at 5:30 the next morning, I was up showering and packing my suitcase. I don't know why I had to be up so early -- except I'm sure I showered, fixed my hair, and maybe put on makeup, if that was allowed. (In those days, I'd never leave the house looking unpresentable.) Anyway, to muffle any noise, I had shut the door to the bathroom.

We were staying at my parents' house, as we lived an hour away from Kansas City, and my mom, who was getting ready for work, (She was supervisor of the recovery room at the same hospital.) told me our dog Smokie was poking his nose into the crack of light under the door as if he knew something noteworthy was going on.

By 7:30, I was in the labor room where my water was broken, and I was hooked up to all the monitors, waiting for contractions to begin. Eventually someone came in and poked me for an IV drip. I hate needles and immediately tensed until I was as flat and straight as a plank. "Relax, relax," the nurse kept repeating.

At some point, a group of student nurses came into the room to observe, and when their supervisor asked me if they could observe me all day, I said, "Sure, that's fine."

As the contractions strengthened, a nurse administered a shot of Demerol, which I thought was not working because I could still feel the pain. I pressed the call button and told the voice on the other side that I could still feel the pain and thought I needed another shot. I could tell she suppressed a laugh as she explained, "The medicine won't stop the pain; it just takes the edge off." I could just hear her telling her colleagues about my first-time-mom naivete!

The labor continued, slowly but surely, and my husband, who was going to school that was an hour's commute each way, dozed in the chair and then went to lunch with my mom. Along the way, my mother-in-law arrived and was sitting in the waiting room, where my husband delivered updates of my progress. Every hour or so, my mom checked in to note my progress.

Preparing to wheel me to the delivery room, a kind nurse was rubbing my back as the contractions strengthened. It helped take the edge off the pain. After a few minutes, she asked Jim to take over while she took care of some other duties. Jim said yes and gave me a couple of strokes then stopped. I whipped my head around and snapped, "Don't stop!"

To which he replied, "I think having babies makes you cranky." (GRRRRRR!)

The atmosphere of the delivery room was electric -- as though we were waiting for a noted celebrity to make his entrance. Student nurses lingered in at the edges of the crowd, like wallflowers awaiting their turn to fully participate. Nurses came and went through the swinging doors, reminding me of a serving staff moving from kitchen to ballroom. The doctor rushed in and took his assigned seat, finally saying that blessed word: "Push!"

And then -- there he was the star of the afternoon -- our son, our first born, who was received with a round of applause and (on my part) a grateful sigh of relief! As the nurses were cleaning him, I watched him craning his neck, inspecting the room, marveling at the crowd. (Okay, maybe not that -- but he did look awfully intelligent!)

In the meantime, one of the nurses went to the waiting room, where by now, my mom had joined my mother-in-law, and said, "Dixie, Dr. Williams wants to see you."

As my mom stood, my mother-in-law remarked, "She's not going any where without me." So, there they were, peeking through the doors, so they could see their first grandchild.

Later when he was bundled, and I was wrapped in a wonderfully warm blanket, I stared into his eyes, marveling at the awesome miracle he was (and is) and the awesome responsibility that was now mine.

I love you, Son! Happy Birthday!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Life Lines

We bought a webcam, so when we call our son's family in KY, we can "see" them! "Them" primarily being our granddaughters.

I hooked the cam up, which was no easy task. Because our tower sits inside a cabinet, I had to pull it out, so I could see the back of it. Doing that made the speaker cords and the mouse cord come unplugged. It took me several minutes to determine which cord was the cam's and which was the mouse's and get everything (re)connected.

I don't know what all runs from our tower: the mouse, the screen, a printer, the speakers, the modem. That's only six cords and a couple I can't account for. But as I followed a line from the tower, untangling and separating them, I felt a bit like a surgeon, trying to determine which blood vessel is the one leaking. Nurse -- flashlight (It's shadowy inside that cabinet), nurse -- dust rag -- to mop up the dust bunnies, nurse -- gauze (to wipe my sweaty brow). Okay -- I said a bit.

Finally, I got everything connected and then opened the software instruction book, which said, "If your webcam is connected to the computer, unconnect it before beginning the installation!" I pulled the tower out again, disconnecting the mouse and speakers again.

When all was installed and reconnected, we called our son. And while we could hear and see them quite well, they had no audio from our end.

Back to the operating table.

Friday, June 1, 2007

More Serendipty

Yesterday while out running errands, I drove past the back of the Firestone store where three male employees were doing a dance that was a cross between the Monster Mash and the Funky Chicken.

Closer inspection revealed they were trying to round up a mama duck and her ducklings who had apparently placed themselves in danger by wandering onto the back lot of the store. The ducklings were scattered hither and yon, while the mama waddled into the street.

Traffic came to a standstill while the mama climbed the curb and disappeared between two cars. Within seconds, she reappeared, this time with the ducklings obediently lined up behind her. They crossed the street, apparently headed home to the ditch of water across the street.

Tonight while returning home from furniture shopping, eight Canadian geese stopped traffic while crossing a four lane, busy suburban road. Their destination appeared to be a small pond on the other side of the road, which meant they had to cross the median and another four lanes of cars going 45 miles an hour.

It would have taken less time and been less dangerous to have taken wing, but there they were, plodding along like old men on their way to the local cafe. And respectively, traffic slowed for them.

Oh! I wish I had had my camera!